The thickly wooded Bonavista Peninsula pokes out into the ocean for some 120km, its shredded shoreline confettied with bays, coves and islands. The English settled here in numbers during the seventeenth century, establishing dozens of tiny outports and one administrative centre, Trinity, with a gorgeous headland setting and medley of fine old buildings.
Root cellars and puffins
The straggling community of Elliston, 5.6km from Bonavista, is known as the “root cellar capital of the world” for good reason, with around 135 hobbit-like cellars for storing produce through the winter dug into the hillside since 1839 (you can visit some of them). The village also boasts the closest viewing of puffins from land in North America, a colony of over 80,000 spread over the cliffs – you’ll be able to get very close to the more curious birds.
Situated about 70km from the Trans-Canada Highway via Rte-230 and 270km north of St John’s, tiny TRINITY has narrow lanes edged by a delightful ensemble of white and pastel-painted clapboard houses, all set between a ring of hills and the deep and intricate Trinity Bight. The architectural high point of the village is St Paul’s Anglican Church, completed in 1894, whose perfectly proportioned Gothic Revival exterior is adorned by elaborate scrollwork. Inside, the graceful and dignified nave is divided into three, the side aisles entered through arches carved to resemble whale bones and the ceiling up above fashioned in the shape of an upturned boat. The Trinity Historical Society manages several historic sites in the village, giving a flavour of what life was like here in the nineteenth century.